The city had burned; there was nothing left but ash. A shadow swept across the landscape as a dragon soared overhead. Ari looked up as it disappeared out of sight over the mountain range. He heaved a great sigh, he had been too late, again. He sheathed his sword and started out to survey the damages.
The charred remains of a building scattered when he made contact with the toe of his boot. Bending down he gathered the ashes in his hands, the grittiness coating his fingers, a sharp, tangy smell hit him, flooding his senses. Northern Grey backs probably, judging from the amount of destruction and the size of the one he had just glimpsed.
Contrary to popular belief, not all dragons breathed fire. Among those that did, heat was a relative thing. A diamond tailed horned dragon, for example, was all bluster, lots of smoke and fury, very little flame. Northern Greys, on the other hand, were fairly deadly. Very little smoke, a cry as innocent as the bleating of a doe. But their fire burned almost as hot as the sun. Which begged the question, what were Northern Greys doing this far south?
Everness had been a large city, a bustling center of trade and commerce. Dragons usually kept a lower profile than this. It was the third city of this size burned to the ground that he had come across in as many months. Something was very, very wrong. Dragons had been hunted almost to extinction centuries ago. Most places he went, they were regarded as fairy tales. The creatures had a vested interest in keeping it that way. So why the unprovoked and frequent attacks on high profile cities all of a sudden? Three large, well known cities, in three months all within the same region. That was definitely going to be noticed.
Ari gazed out over the landscape as smoke curled up and climbed into the sky, insects and birds eerily silent. He closed his eyes and brought up his other senses, focusing on the mountain the Grey had disappeared over. He stood in silence as the sun sank down behind the mountains, shadows stretching out across the remains of the city. He was unaware of the passage of time as he used his extra senses to survey the mountain range and what it was hiding. A soft breeze danced through the ruins and night had fully fallen when he finally opened his eyes. He knew what he had to do. It was time for the people to know the truth.